Insider's Guide to Spas
Parrot Cay

Resorts

Parrot Cay

Becca Hensley


After a long journey, I’ve crashed at Keith Richards’ place. He’s not here right now. If he were, I wouldn’t be. After all, he might not like to see how deeply my kids are settling into his couch. Our consolation is that Robert, our affable butler, he who comes with this Balinese-style beach house on a private island in the Turks & Caicos, will be by shortly to erase all the furrows we’ve left while lounging on Richard’s furniture.

Of course, Richards is used to strangers messing up his house. He’s not the only celebrity who owns villas on Parrot Cay, once a pirate-infested, uninhabited island, now a paradisiacal wellness haven. Next door, find Bruce Willis’ (large) place; down the beach, live Christie Brinkley and Donna Karan. And there are others—seems there’s always somebody famous frolicking about this shimmering, too-good-to-be-true retreat.

Owned by Como, an Asian hotel group, fueled by a philosophy of wellness, Parrot Cay’s underlying raison d’etre is to support guests in unraveling the knots of a hectic world. They hope a stay here will begin a transformation that will continue once guests return home. It must work, because harried visitors return in hoards, taking a week at Parrot Cay as if it were the tablets from a bottle of medicine.

Of course, you can come here and not worry about wellness at all. My husband’s napping on a white-cushioned lounge chair around the villa’s private pool, beer bottle at his side. And my kids have hustled down the sugary one-mile beach to take out some sailboats. So, while they relax their way, I rejuvenate as I prefer: by taking a yoga practice.

Parrot Cay’s underlying raison d’etre is to support guests in unraveling the knots of a hectic world. They hope a stay here will begin a transformation that will continue once guests return home. It must work, because harried visitors return in hoards, taking a week at Parrot Cay as if it were the tablets from a bottle of medicine.

With just over 60 rooms in its main hotel building and a handful of family-sized, free-standing villas placed in secluded spots along the beach, Parrot Cay exudes intimacy. Zen-like, it feels less like a Caribbean hideaway, and more like a Balinese sanctuary. The main hotel is contemporary colonial in style with white-washed walls, salmon-hued terra-cotta tiles, and bits of azure blue meant to mirror the sea. The pool ringed by linen-capped daybeds, appears to flow all the way to the horizon. From our villa’s deck, we see nothing but ocean. We might be Robinson Caruso if the dude had digs this posh on his deserted island. As it is, it’s enough to loaf about the same pool Keith Richards does when he takes residence. This villa, a clutter-free panoply of white-draped Balinese beds, hammocks, and whitewashed wooden walls, soothes away the jetsam and flotsam of everyday life in an instant.

But the true heartbeat of the resort is the holistic Shambhala Spa. Here, free, daily yoga and Pilates classes lure people from the beaches at 5:00 pm. In an unexpected twist, they become Parrot Cay’s version of happy hour. Sunburned, relaxed, joyful guests meet in the 1,300-square-foot yoga room, aired by island breezes, to reconnect with the world. To the titter of local birds, guests can also arrange pranayama and meditation lessons, consult with the resort’s renowned Ayurvedic doctor, or sign up for any number of Eastern-influenced spa treatments. During my stay, I swoon to a sybaritic Javanese Royal Lulur Bath, in which I am slathered with ginger, turmeric, and sandalwood, before sinking into a pot of yoghurt.

Many guests plan their trips to Parrot Cay around the resort’s renowned visiting yogi programs. Sign up to practice with some of the world’s most famous yoga teachers, from Rodney Yi to Shiva Rea, in retreats that offer five hours of yoga practice daily for five days. Alternatively, Parrot Cay also caters to Pilates aficionados, bringing some of the best Pilates instructors to the pavilion, as well. Those who wish can take the program a step further by ordering spa cuisine in the resort’s various restaurants. The “healthy” king prawn and green mango salad I order from the everchanging spa cuisine menu on my visit is so scrumptious my teenagers steal sloppy forkfuls off my plate with relish.

But Keith Richards’ vacation home and private island aside, by far the highlight of my stay was zoning into bliss during shavasana while my yoga teacher sang to me in—as happened when the inimitable Amy Clifford was the on-site yoga master, and used her otherworldly crooning to help take us to another plane—a transformative travel moments that I will gladly live again and again.

If You Go

Parrot Cay is just an hour’s flight from Miami. Arrive in Turks & Caico’s Provo, then proceed to Parrot Cay by private boat. The hotel will meet you at the airport. When you arrive to the island, staff will greet you on the dock like you are long-lost family. You’ll hop into a golf cart and be swept away to your room or villa.

Upcoming Retreats

April 2015, Spring Into Balance: The Curry Sisters Yoga Retreat at Parrot Cay

 

Becca Hensley

Becca Hensley

Based in Austin, Contributing Editor Becca Hensley writes regularly about travel and spas. She believes a good story draws you in like laughter in a crowded room, and challenges you to do it justice. Her work appears regularly in Austin Monthly, Travel Channel, Toronto Star and National Geographic Traveler.